10 Coastal Prefabs That Bring Modular Housing to the Beach

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo / Published by Dwell
When an efficient prefab can become a coastal retreat with a spectacular view to boot—it makes a very compelling case for not being landlocked.

Here, we've gathered a variety of prefabs set in diverse locations around the world, providing you a little inspiration if you're currently plotting a feasible way to build a beach house of your very own. 

New Zealand Coastal Prefab Home

Location: Waiheke Island, New Zealand

Architect: Bonnifait + Giesen Atelierworkshop

10 Coastal Prefabs That Bring Modular Housing to the Beach - Photo 1 of 10 - Located on the northern edge of Waiheke Island, approximately 800 feet from the nearest road, The Cora House sits atop a thicketed cliff that falls sharply into Hekerua Bayhe below. The prefab home's configuration maximizes views, while its siting limits environmental impact. Bonnifait + Giesen Atelierworkshop, the firm that designed the structure, was even able to retain the mature trees on the property.

Located on the northern edge of Waiheke Island, approximately 800 feet from the nearest road, The Cora House sits atop a thicketed cliff that falls sharply into Hekerua Bayhe below. The prefab home's configuration maximizes views, while its siting limits environmental impact. Bonnifait + Giesen Atelierworkshop, the firm that designed the structure, was even able to retain the mature trees on the property.

Onemana Prefab

Location: Onemana Beach, North Island, New Zealand

Architect: Dave Strachan and the architecture students of Unitec Institute of Technology 

10 Coastal Prefabs That Bring Modular Housing to the Beach - Photo 2 of 10 - Also located in New Zealand, this compact prefab vacation home in the seaside community of Onemana Beach was a collaboration with Architecture students from Auckland’s Unitec Institute of Technology.

Also located in New Zealand, this compact prefab vacation home in the seaside community of Onemana Beach was a collaboration with Architecture students from Auckland’s Unitec Institute of Technology.

Felipe Assadi's Casa Remota

Location: Pichicuy, Chile

Architect: Felipe Assadi

10 Coastal Prefabs That Bring Modular Housing to the Beach - Photo 3 of 10 - Casa Remota is a design prototype for a transportable, modular dwelling. The 861 square-foot home can be constructed in 45 days, transferred to its location in four hours, and installed in only six more. Erected near the Chilean city of Valparaíso, the two-bedroom, two-bathroom home has floor-to-ceiling windows to enjoy views of the region’s dramatic coastline.

Casa Remota is a design prototype for a transportable, modular dwelling. The 861 square-foot home can be constructed in 45 days, transferred to its location in four hours, and installed in only six more. Erected near the Chilean city of Valparaíso, the two-bedroom, two-bathroom home has floor-to-ceiling windows to enjoy views of the region’s dramatic coastline.

Merricks Beach Prefab

Location: Merricks Beach, Australia

Architect: Anna Horne

10 Coastal Prefabs That Bring Modular Housing to the Beach - Photo 4 of 10 - When Australian architect Anna Horne designed a beach house consisting of three modules for her family, she had the prefab constructed in a factory outside Melbourne. Then, the house was transported down to the sleepy beach town of Merricks. Horne created a series of prefab wood modules using a design from the company Prebuilt. She found the old red industrial letter at a factory. It stands for Somerset, the name of the house.

When Australian architect Anna Horne designed a beach house consisting of three modules for her family, she had the prefab constructed in a factory outside Melbourne. Then, the house was transported down to the sleepy beach town of Merricks. Horne created a series of prefab wood modules using a design from the company Prebuilt. She found the old red industrial letter at a factory. It stands for Somerset, the name of the house.

Dramatic Cliffside Prefab

Location: Sydney, Australia

Architect: Archiblox

10 Coastal Prefabs That Bring Modular Housing to the Beach - Photo 5 of 10 - This prefab house designed by ArchiBlox on the northern beaches of Sydney has to stand up to high winds and spray from the surf. To ensure this wouldn't be a problem, Archiblox wrapped the exterior in marine-grade Colorbond Ultra steel. Panels of Queensland blue gum, a native Australian hardwood, covers the street-side facade, which is protected from the harsh climate.

This prefab house designed by ArchiBlox on the northern beaches of Sydney has to stand up to high winds and spray from the surf. To ensure this wouldn't be a problem, Archiblox wrapped the exterior in marine-grade Colorbond Ultra steel. Panels of Queensland blue gum, a native Australian hardwood, covers the street-side facade, which is protected from the harsh climate.

20-Module Prefab in Western Canada

Location: British Columbia, Canada

Architect: Tony Robins of AA Robins Architect

10 Coastal Prefabs That Bring Modular Housing to the Beach - Photo 6 of 10 - This enormous modular home by Tony Robins of Vancouver-based AA Robins Architect was built in partnership with a prefabrication factory. Two-foot-wide steel beams were enlisted to support the 20-module home. The primary building’s wings frame Pacific Ocean views and wrap a private courtyard with an infinity-edge pool. Five bedrooms disperse in a U-shape along a corridor that's punctuated by low, horizontal windows facing the courtyard. 

This enormous modular home by Tony Robins of Vancouver-based AA Robins Architect was built in partnership with a prefabrication factory. Two-foot-wide steel beams were enlisted to support the 20-module home. The primary building’s wings frame Pacific Ocean views and wrap a private courtyard with an infinity-edge pool. Five bedrooms disperse in a U-shape along a corridor that's punctuated by low, horizontal windows facing the courtyard. 

Block Island A-Frame

Location: New Shoreham, Rhode Island

Architect: Jens Risom 

10 Coastal Prefabs That Bring Modular Housing to the Beach - Photo 7 of 10 - The A-frame prefab family retreat of the late iconic designer Jens Risom is located on the northern portion of Block island. It's bordered by a low stone wall, an aesthetic element that appears throughout the land.

The A-frame prefab family retreat of the late iconic designer Jens Risom is located on the northern portion of Block island. It's bordered by a low stone wall, an aesthetic element that appears throughout the land.

Montauk Prefab

Location: Montauk, New York

Architect: Bates Masi + Architects

10 Coastal Prefabs That Bring Modular Housing to the Beach - Photo 8 of 10 - Green features such as a prefabricated foundation and a geothermal heating and cooling system are buried below the ground. Nontoxic finishes and passive systems inside the home add to its sustainable credentials and helped keep the project on budget. The result is an elegant beach house that's perfectly in tune with its environment. Here, the homeowners relax by the pool on modular furniture from Richard Schultz's Swell Seating Collection and chaise lounges from his 1966 collection for Knoll.

Green features such as a prefabricated foundation and a geothermal heating and cooling system are buried below the ground. Nontoxic finishes and passive systems inside the home add to its sustainable credentials and helped keep the project on budget. The result is an elegant beach house that's perfectly in tune with its environment. Here, the homeowners relax by the pool on modular furniture from Richard Schultz's Swell Seating Collection and chaise lounges from his 1966 collection for Knoll.

Remote Island Prefab

Location: Fishers Island, New York

Architect: Resolution: 4 Architecture

10 Coastal Prefabs That Bring Modular Housing to the Beach - Photo 9 of 10 - This modular system created by the architects at Resolution: 4 allows them to customize a home’s floor plan by stacking, lining up, and joining factory-built, rectangular modules. This is the largest prefab house the firm has completed to date with eight modules amassing around 4,500 square feet.

This modular system created by the architects at Resolution: 4 allows them to customize a home’s floor plan by stacking, lining up, and joining factory-built, rectangular modules. This is the largest prefab house the firm has completed to date with eight modules amassing around 4,500 square feet.

Hurricane-Proof Prefab

Location: Miami, Florida

Architect: Cubicco

10 Coastal Prefabs That Bring Modular Housing to the Beach - Photo 10 of 10 - This 685-square-foot prefab shelter by Dutch firm Cubicco was built to withstand Category 5 hurricanes, extreme heat and cold, 10-foot snow loads, and earthquakes. Cubicco’s prefab houses are built with laminated veneer lumber, an engineered material that uses up to 90 percent of a tree—compared to typical wood timbers that use only 60 to 70 percent. Modules can be disassembled if the owners relocate.  

This 685-square-foot prefab shelter by Dutch firm Cubicco was built to withstand Category 5 hurricanes, extreme heat and cold, 10-foot snow loads, and earthquakes. Cubicco’s prefab houses are built with laminated veneer lumber, an engineered material that uses up to 90 percent of a tree—compared to typical wood timbers that use only 60 to 70 percent. Modules can be disassembled if the owners relocate.